First Complaint, Need Some Honest Advice! *more Pics Added*

Business By tatania199 Updated 26 Jul 2007 , 9:12am by Alwayzmakincake

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tatania199 Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 2:27am
post #1 of 108

Okay, so I just got an email for some one for whom I did a cake a week ago. Here's her email:

"I just wanted to let you know that I wasn't happy with our cake. It wasn't near as decorative as the picture I had sent you that I wanted. All the icing edging started to fall off before the day was over and really bad when you tried to cut it. It was pretty dry, also we had changed the type of cake we wanted after the cupcake tasting. So I am very dissappointed with it, especially for the price we paid."

Now, first, I've never made a dry cake in my life. My problem actually run to the opposite. But regardless, I tried that cake (always try the trimming from levelling) and dry it was not.

I don't understand the icing falling off bit? I'm not sure what that would mean. Or about the cutting? I'll clarify when I respond.

As to the flavours...I can't understand what she is talking about changing? We hadn't made any flavour arrangements prior to tasting. So, I went with what she said last?

Anyway, for the appearance, I've gotten very positive feedback on this cake. This is what she sent me as an example:



And this was her cake:


Is my version dramatically under decorated?

Oh, and price. I charged her $600 for that cake. I'm not really sure what else to say about that.

I need to sit back a bit before responding and I wanted a few objective opinions before doing anything.

Any ideas?

107 replies
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Sugarbean Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 2:46am
post #2 of 108

I would say if you think you did a good job. Stick to your guns. Apologize for what she thinks was wrong. Then offer her a discount on her next cake. I would not give $$ back. By offering $$ off another cake, you'll have the chance to make up for what she thinks you were missing. And it is worth more $$ to her, than cost to you. KWIM?

I would say she's just searching for some $$ back. You did a great job!!

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beccakelly Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 3:11am
post #3 of 108

i think your cake looks great! if it had any more deco it prolly woulda looked too busy, ya know? are the swirls BC? cause when i do BC deco on fondant it dries hard and does fall off when cutting. maybe thats what she means. but when you're cutting up a cake, who cares? its getting eaten now, not being decorative anymore. as far as changing her cake flavor, only she can explain that one! i'd email and ask for clarification, and tell her you did such and such flavor as she requested at the tasting. i wouldn't refund any money either, its an enormous cake and you decorated it well.

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tatania199 Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 3:43am
post #4 of 108

Thank for the kind words. We put so much time and effort and hours into this cake. It's crushing to have some one tear it apart that way.

The decor on the cake is royal icing and the flowers are gumpaste.

The cake survived transport (and a very long and bumpy trip through the hotel through no fault of our own) just fine. I find it hard to believe that it spontaneously collapsed the moment we left.

Maybe she didn't understand what fondant was (my tastings are typically a selection of cupcakes, but we had a long talk about fondant) and found it hard to cut that?

I'm still too upset to email her back.

These are a few more detailed professional pictures we had taken (because we were so proud of this cake) at the venue before we left:





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indydebi Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 4:24am
post #5 of 108

That is one incredible cake you made. I think it looks VERY similar to the photos she gave you.

Royal icing dries very hard and I can see that 'falling off' during the cutting process, but as previously stated, once the pics are taken and the cake is being cut, then who cares what it looks like? NOBODY, that's who!

I would politely let her know that your records do not indicate any changes on the cake after your initial meeting ("..... so if you could clarify and forward a copy of the email with the change request?")

Did they not eat the cake? Did they throw it out because "no one" liked it?

I think she's huntin' for an excuse to get some money back on a wedding that may have gone overbudget.

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MillyCakes Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 4:43am
post #6 of 108

Who knows what she is talking about? I would ask her to explain in more detail what her complaints are so that you can address them. The only thing I can see is that the cake pictures she sent you were only 2 colors and hers was 3. This did add another dimension to her cake.

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SugarFrosted Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 4:44am
post #7 of 108
Originally Posted by indydebi

Did they not eat the cake? Did they throw it out because "no one" liked it?

I think she's huntin' for an excuse to get some money back on a wedding that may have gone overbudget.

I'm right there with ya, indydebi

tatania, your cake is lovely, don't let this ... tapedshut.gif ... bridezilla ruin your day or week or whatever.

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lchristi27 Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 4:45am
post #8 of 108

If I were the bride, I would of walked in, saw that cake and said it was the prettiest one I have ever seen. That is amazing. I paid $400 for mine and it is no where near as gorgeous as this.

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ShayShay Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 4:45am
post #9 of 108

honest advice...ok...i honestly think your cake was amazing! I don't know what she could possibly complain about! Your cake looks very similar to the design she sent you, and perhaps she didn't understand that fondant dries it is not soft like icing! Honestly, don't feel anything but pride at what you accomplished. You did a great job and I wouldn't offer anything back to her, that would be like selling yourself short and taking away from the gratification you should be feeling. Great Job....Be Proud!

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cakesbyjess Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 4:51am
post #10 of 108

I think your cake is GORGEOUS. I have never seen a wedding cake in that configuration, and I LOVE IT!!!! I think yours was just as pretty and detailed as the examples she gave you. I am sorry that you got such bad feedback from the bride ... like you, I would be crushed and very upset. I would send her an email asking for clarification on the flavor issue as well as the icing falling off (???). I can't imagine that the icing (especially royal) would just randomly start falling off the cake. That just sounds wacky to me. I do not think you should refund any of her money. If she was truly concerned about the dryness of the cake or the icing falling off, then she should have saved a piece of the cake and brought it back to you. But I'm guessing that every bit of that beautiful cake was eaten and enjoyed. Like Debi said, I think she now realizes that she went over budget on her wedding and is searching for a reason to get some money back. Maybe offer her a discount on her next cake, but that's it. Oh, and by the way, I think she got a DEAL by only paying $600 for a cake that big and beautiful!!!!

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rcs Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 4:53am
post #11 of 108

Your cake is beautiful and looks so similiar to the pictures she gave you! Besides all of the detailed work on the cake, which looks amazing, that's alot of cake for $600!

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OzCookie Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 4:59am
post #12 of 108

I have only just joined CakeCentral (WOW!!!) and, browsing through, found your post.
I am absolutely horrified by this vicious bride - but I too have "been there, done that"! Sadly for my bride, one of my dearest friends had a sister in the wedding party, who passed on that this was the bride's way of saving money! She also sent letters of complaint to the florist and caterer!
Your cake was just beautiful, so don't let this horrible person rattle your confidence. I am from Australia, and don't really know what cake-pricing in the US is like, but it seems to me that she already got an amazing cake for very little money.
Keep up the great work, and ignore nasties like this one! thumbs_up.gif

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Tweetycup Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 5:06am
post #13 of 108

Don't e-mail... call her! typed words cannot express ones tone of voice and seems like there is always some type of miscommunication when people e-mail each other.

I think she e-mailed you because she had time to think about what she wanted to say. If she had called you and complained, you would have been able to question her outright and she most likely wouldn't have had a leg to stand on.

Her remark about it not being decorated enough, is outlandish. As for the taste and the "falling apart" needs to be clarified over the phone, not e-mail.

I hope all goes well. Get your questions down on paper and be prepared.

Good Luck!

Oh and uh that is an amazing cake!

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emmascakes Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 5:07am
post #14 of 108

The colours are different from in the pictures she's sent you - but I presume she asked for those colours? I guess she'd have to send you some cake to prove it was dry and that the icing was falling off? I'm also guessing she won't have any cake left as she's scoffed it all. I'd calmly say you're sorry she was disappointed - send her the images she sent you and yours so she can see how similar they are and ask for samples of the cake back. When she can't send you any then it's tough for her. $600 isn't expensive for the amount of cake she's had and you shouldn't have to refund her any.

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Cookie4 Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 5:11am
post #15 of 108

Personally I think your Puzzle Cake is incredible. Sounds like your customer really didn't want to pay as much for her cake and wanted a partial refund to offset her wedding expenses.

I would send her a very brief e-mail wishing her a lot of happiness in her marriage, thanking her for her business and for her comments. And I would leave it at that!!!

If she's unhappy you can't fix it with another cake or even a refund of any amount so why bother. You may/may not get any referrals from her so just move on to another customer.


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tobycat Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 5:14am
post #16 of 108

Honest opinion? Okay, -- I think you did a great job! It's a very difficult cake to construct, and you did a great job with that. The lines look good -- the colors are, I'm assuming, what she chose. The fondant looks good. So what's the problem? If she wanted to replicate exaclty one of the cakes in the pictures, then she should have told you that! $600 was a very fair and reasonable price.
However, word of mouth is important in this business, and you don't want someone running around saying you had dry cake -- even if it wasn't, which I believe you that it wasn't! So, you might consider apologizing and taking the angle that you are soooooo sorry -- could she describe her issues a bit more specifically. Then, just try to really show that you're listening -- even if you're seething about it. If she's sincere in her complaints, then you want to show her you're hearing her. If she's full of it and just wants her money back, then you can try to determine where she's coming from. Either way, I would listen, apologize profusely, for whatever misunderstandings there were about the flavors and that to the best of your ability you were sure the cake wasn't dry. THen maybe offer to make her a special anniversary cake for 2.

Hope you get this resolved quickly and easily.

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JoanneK Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 5:16am
post #17 of 108

How can she even think saying the cake was not pretty or under decorated is going to come off as sounding true! This is a beautiful cake.

With her saying that I tend to not believe a thing she said.

However, I would call her and make her explain what she is talking about. Sometimes a phone call clears things up much better as the person who is not telling the truth can't seem to say such silly things on the phone.

I wouldn't offer a penny back. Nor would I give a discount. Who wants a person like her for a customer anyway?? Not me.

I would tell her that not only you but others tasted the cake that was carved and it was fine. Show the picture to anyone and let them see how beautiful the cake is and no one will fall for that lie either.

Just tell her you are sorry that she was unhappy but the quality of your work is just as promised and say good bye.

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4Gifts4Lisa Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 5:23am
post #18 of 108

She. Is. Smoking. Crack.

The cake is simply gorgeous, and appears exactly as she ordered.

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Kazoot Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 5:41am
post #19 of 108

BEAUTIFUL, AND I MEAN BEAUTIFUL CAKE!!!!!! It is amazing and I can't believe it was only $600!! icon_surprised.gif

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LaSombra Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 7:29am
post #20 of 108

This lady is C R A Z Y!!! That is a great cake icon_eek.gif I don't know if I could even attempt one like that. It's really cool how the parts all fit together.

This sounds kinda like one of those people who go to a nice restaurant and ask for a steak, eat 3/4 of it and then send it back, wanting a refund because it wasn't done enough or too done. They wait until they've gotten what they want and then find something wrong with it that they think can't be proven either way. There are alot of sheisters out there. I guess they come in the cake world too icon_rolleyes.gif


Good luck with this. I think you ought to send her some photos of the cake, along with a coupon good for a free 6" cake on their anniversary or something and tell her that people have given you rave reviews on the cake pics. There was nothing wrong with the cake. Hey, if she tries taking you to small claims court (which would be ridiculous), she wouldn't have a leg to stand on with those cake pics. It's beautiful!

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MustloveDogs Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 9:25am
post #21 of 108

Yup, I am another one! icon_biggrin.gif

Your cake is GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! icon_eek.gif
It is HUGE!!!!!!!!!! and worth WAY more than $600 and looks EXACTLY like the 2nd cake pic to me!!! thumbs_up.gif

Royal icing may come off as the piece around it is cut, but that is the nature of cake and not an actual problem. She probably wouldn't know that, but sounds like a whinger anyway. icon_mad.gif
You know the cake isn't dry, so respond to her that you're surprised that she found it that way as all your other customers rave about how moist it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And leave it at that, you might want to attach the 3 pics side by side in the email, the 2 she showed you and your pic of her cake, and then what can she possibly say?
As far as the flavour changing? Did you have a contract or some documentation that corrects that comment of hers?

Keep your answer professional and leave it at that!
You have done very well, I feel sorry for her husband! She sounds like a mega nitpicker with no foundation for it!

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Shamitha Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 9:51am
post #22 of 108

Your cake is beautiful.Dont believe anything says. icon_smile.gifthumbs_up.gif

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stacyyarger Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 10:12am
post #23 of 108

I think the Bride is just NUTS!!! There are alot of people out there that are just that way. I think you did a Awesome Job!!!

Good Luck

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Doug Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 10:30am
post #24 of 108

note in top sample --

the WORDS on the cake.

did she expect those to be there -- even if she didn't specifically request them -- after all they are in the sample

and that might be the source of her "under-decorated comment. -- an UNSPOKEN expectation.

which is simple to address -- was it in the contract? NO? too bad.


after that ... ditto previous posts.

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bakerchick Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 10:44am
post #25 of 108

I think your cake looks fabulous - it has ATD - attention to detail!!!
i have a feeling she may have tried to cut the cake herself and maybe didn't know quite how to do it, and stuffed it up, that's maybe why the cake bits fell off?? but is trying to explain it away on you.

Did she see the cake when you delivered it? if so was any comment made then? and if she was so disappointed why did it take her a week to email you? you think she might have kept a piece of the cake if she was that upset about it so then she could show you herself.I think she's "fishin for a freebie". i know it's easier said than done, BUT i really think you should stand by your product and get a few facts first before you start thinking about refunds - i think your cake looks fantastic and don't let her tell you otherwise!! there's always one in every crowd.....

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2sdae Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 10:58am
post #26 of 108

Take deep breathe and know you all did a fantastic job and so sorry to bridezilla that she over did her budget, but you are not to be responsible for it.
I have seen this "buyer's remorse" before. Bride's and Grooms too, tend to over spend to get this magical wedding they want and when it's over and they sit and look at bills to be paid and lack of cash waiting to be spent it sets in..... icon_rolleyes.gif
I completely understand the down you can get after a wedding. It's all this hullabaloos for so long leading up to this moment and then it's here and poof it's gone.
Kinda like january boredom for kids after the christmas holidays are over ya know?
But no matter what you did your job and well. Give her a 0/0 off her next cake, for her troubles.... icon_rolleyes.gificon_twisted.gif And pass along all the best well wishes for her and her hubby's future....AND DONT MAKE THEIR KIDS BIRTHDAY OR CELEBRATIONS CAKES!!!!!! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

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majormichel Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 11:38am
post #27 of 108

your cake is wonderful. Brides have to understand they are bringing a picture of someone else cake for you to duplicate. All details might not be exactly the same but you did an excellent job on reduplicating the cake, keep up the good work. There is a bad apple in every bunch. icon_lol.gif

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renkly Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 12:04pm
post #28 of 108

Your cake is gorgeous and she got a hell of a deal for $600.00!!!

I think the falling of part is the royal icing, which can crack and break when you cut it. That is royal icing - a fact.

I think your cake is just the same as the photo's she sent you. You did a fantastic job and she is crazy saying it was under decorated. I think she choose colors that make it look different than the pictures she brought you BUT that was her choice.

I wouldn't bother to argue with her. She is just after some money. State you points on the return e-mail and then move on. HER LOSE - not yours!!!

So sorry this happened to you after all the hard work you put forward. You be proud of your cake - it is gorgeous - and move on icon_smile.gif

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Leashlar Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 2:43pm
post #29 of 108

OMG!!! i love your cake, and the pics of the cakes she sent you as templates, i think your cake looks GREAT!!! as everyone else is saying, dot back down, the pices prove the point, aslo, like another member mentioned, maybe she did not relise fondont dries to a crisp, and does not have an exactly pleasurable flavor and texture for eating. all i suggest is for your future tastings, have a piece of fondant covered cake, royal ising covered cake, and buttercream covered cake handy to show the looks and feels and taste of the various options, and you should also inform her &)% of wedding cakes are done in rolled icing to keep the look

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tatania199 Posted 9 Jul 2007 , 3:07pm
post #30 of 108

Thank you all.

I can't imagine what she is talking about.

We talked about fondant, I make my own (MMF) so I know the taste isn't offensive and from her conversation, I assumed she knew what fondant was. And regardless, I use BC underneath and the cake itself was moist and rich. I explained all of that, the whole set up of the cake itself.

The colours and design were EXACTLY what she wanted. She told me exactly what colour everything should be and didn't want the writing. Maybe the colours didn't look the way she expected? I always worry that when we change the colour scheme of a cake from a picture that the bride will be disappointed because, of course, it will look completely different than the original. Maybe that was it?

I really think it was likely buyer's remorse. That cake was by far the most high end thing in the room. We commented on that when we left. I imagine hat after the fact, she realized that was too much for her to have spent.

I don't know. I'm going to email her. I just need to become a little more objective first, rather than sad and hurt.

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